The return of baseball had fans feeling all kinds of emotions on Thursday.
Though when it came to Alex Rodriguez’s inclusion in ESPN’s season-opening broadcast of the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, their feelings were all channeled in one direction — disgust.
That’s because many feel it’s a conflict of interest for Rodriguez to be involved in high-profile MLB broadcasts while he and fiancée Jennifer Lopez are bidding to buy the New York Mets.
ESPN even saw that connection as enough of a conflict to remove Rodriguez from Mets’ broadcasts this season. But fans and writers alike thought his appearance Thursday night crossed that line as well. Especially when he took part in an in-game interview with commissioner Rob Manfred.
To many, the interview of Manfred felt more like a Rodriguez job interview. That did not sit well. At all.
I'm pretty good at job interviews but Alex Rodriguez doing his live on ESPN is impressive.
— Kate Feldman (@kateefeldman) July 24, 2020
So Arod is questioning Rob Manfred during the Yankees-Nats games. Given that Arod is trying to get in the MLB ownership lodge and Manfred has a meaningful role in that, would seem to raise the same issues that drove ESPN to have Arod not call Mets games this year.
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBG) July 24, 2020
Also, ESPN just gonna let A-Rod be a mouthpiece as he tries to become an owner? Cool.
— Joel Gasson (@JGasson_21) July 24, 2020
I speak only for me as an MLB viewer: There is nothing Alex Rodriguez says on-air this year that I’ll take seriously outside of player analysis. He’s attempting to purchase a team and God bless him. But he’s not working for me as a viewer. He’s working to be an owner.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 24, 2020
Alex Rodriguez literally told Rob Manfred “great job” with regards to the player negotiations but somehow most people find Jessica Mendoza to be a worse broadcaster. I wonder what the difference is?
— Matt Dean (@MattDeanGuy) July 24, 2020
ARod: “Commissioner Manfred, I want to ask you about the leadership of having to direct the efforts to put together all this protocol between the players and the clubs. Just a tremendous job.”
Manfred: “Well, thank you.”
— Bryan Curtis (@bryancurtis) July 24, 2020
Rodriguez was also recently criticized for calling on players to accept a revenue sharing system, which essentially equals a salary cap system. Rodriguez quickly walked back his comment after members of the players’ union rebuked it.
Not a lot of people are interested in hearing about a potential salary cap from a player who earned $441 million during his MLB career.
Even fewer are interested in A-Rod using his social media and broadcast platforms to gain favor with the league and its owners.
Needless to say, he’ll be walking a fine line for as long as he juggles broadcasting with his ownership bid.
More from Yahoo Sports: